April 29, 2008, New Rochelle, NY --Jeffrey Laurence, M.D., Editor of the peer-reviewed medical journal, AIDS Patient Care and STDs, and the journal's publisher, Mary Ann Liebert, are calling for Barack Obama not simply to disavow Rev. Jeremiah Wright's accusation that the U.S. government attempted to use the AIDS virus to wipe out people of color. "It is not enough for Senator Obama to distance himself from the pastor's opinions. He has a responsibility to this generation and to the generations that follow to tell them the truth," said Ms. Liebert, President and CEO of the publishing company that bears her name. "The world is watching and waiting."
"There are some one million HIV-infected people in the U.S., with an estimated 50,000 new HIV infections each year," said Dr. Laurence, Professor of Medicine at Weill Medical College of Cornell and Senior Scientific Consultant for Programs at amfAR, The Foundation for AIDS Research. "The majority of these patients are people of color, many of whom believe in these conspiracy theories. This is extremely harmful. For example, a recent study among African-American men found that those holding such beliefs were 40 percent less likely to use condoms to protect themselves from acquiring and spreading HIV."
"Just as Rev. Wright has effectively used his pulpit to foster mistrust of the thousands of researchers and health care professionals who have dedicated their lives to eradicating AIDS worldwide, Senator Obama could use his own high visibility to educate those at-risk of the dangers of such statements," Laurence says. "Indeed," Laurence continued, "with no signs of a willingness by Rev. Wright to modify these inaccurate messages, which seem to resonate with his followers, Obama must do so."
|Contact: Mary Ann Liebert|
Mary Ann Liebert, Inc./Genetic Engineering News